HCMC braces for hand, foot, mouth outbreak

By My Y   June 20, 2023 | 01:35 am PT
HCMC braces for hand, foot, mouth outbreak
A doctor checks on a child patient of the hand, foot, mouth disease in HCMC, June 2023. Photo by HCMC's Party Committee news portal
With hand, foot and mouth cases surging 150% against last month, HCMC's Health Department is preparing to cope with a potential outbreak.

In the past week the city recorded 423 cases, up 2.5 times against four weeks ago, according to the city’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The rise is recorded both in the number of inpatients and outpatients.

Among them, 147 are under six years old and all must be hospitalized for treatment. 18 of them are receiving intensive care and 14 rely on ventilators.

According to the World Health Organization, hand, foot and mouth disease is a common infectious disease caused by enteroviruses that occurs most often in children under 10, but can also affect adolescents and occasionally, adults. In most cases, the disease is mild and self-limiting, with symptoms including fever, painful sores in the mouth, and a rash with blisters on hands, feet and buttocks.

So far this year, the city has recorded one child death because of the disease.

Compared to the same period last year, the current number of cases has dropped by 53%.

However, with the appearance of the new variant Enterovirus 71, which is considered the most severe neurotneurotoxic enterovirus that causes the disease to spread faster and become more severe, health authorities are worrying if an outbreak could appear and grow fast.

Now the Department of Health is preparing for the worst-case scenario in which 100-200 new cases must be admitted each day while 700-1,400 cases have already been hospitalized for treatment and 70-140 of them are severe cases.

By then, the city must get 1,400 beds ready, including 150 ICU beds and classified admissions to ensure that the most severe cases would be sent to upper-level hospitals to ease pressure for the entire system and avoid fatalities as much as possible.

The department has also warned medical centers in each district to prepare enough medicine and medical equipment.

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